[p2p-research] Fwd: request: best readings on P2P energy?
Paul D. Fernhout
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Tue Nov 3 14:57:12 CET 2009
Here are two links to online books to start with, not P2P directly, but
about renewables and how people would switch to them if there was a level
playing field and full accounting for externalities:
"Brittle Power" (from the 1980s but just as relevant as ever)
"Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security is a 1982 book by
Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, prepared originally as a Pentagon
study, and re-released in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. The book
argues that domestic energy infrastructure is very vulnerable to disruption,
by accident or malice, often even more so than imported oil. According to
the authors, a resilient energy system is feasible, costs less, works
better, is favoured in the market, but is rejected by U.S. policy. In the
preface to the 2001 edition, Lovins explains that these themes are still
very current. "
And Lester Brown's work:
"Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization"
"Over the last few decades, the world has accumulated a growing number of
unresolved problems, including those just mentioned. As the stresses from
these unresolved problems accumulate, weaker governments are beginning to
break down, leading to what are now commonly referred to as failing states.
Failing states are an early sign of a failing civilization. The countries at
the top of the lengthening list of failing states are not particularly
surprising. They include, for example, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Chad,
Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti. And the list
grows longer each year, raising a disturbing question: How many failing
states will it take before civilization itself fails? No one knows the
answer, but it is a question we must ask. 12"
I've read the first (years ago in grad school, it is the basis for a lot of
my thinking on sustainability and security) but I've only glanced at a few
parts of the second.
I'd suggest anyone who wants to be an expert in this area read both, and
then think about how P2P fits into the issues outlined.
Energy policy and security issues go hand in hand in our society.
In general, I'd suggest keeping in mind the issues of:
* intrinsic (resilient) security vs. extrinsic (brittle) security
(The above two books.)
* Morton Deutsch's mutual security vs. unilateral security
And I like Julian Simon's work on the human imagination as the ultimate
resource, even if there are parts one might disagree with:
"[p2p-research] Beyond Julian Simon; a meta failure of free markets as labor
Essentially, the more healthy people who are free to act, and have some
resources including access to tools and information, the more solutions
people come up with to make the world a healthier and more secure place.
So, one can look at this energy issue in terms of peer-to-peer security.
Don't let those people building ironic high-tech weapons take all the
"security" high ground. Those weapons are ironic because the same technology
going into extrinsic unilateral security through building nuclear missiles
and military robots could be used to build a sustainable and intrinsically
mutually secure future for us all. And the same time spent turning people
into soldiers in schools and the military could be producing free citizens
who have time for producing really secure infrastructure instead. But our
society is stuck in a 1800s Prussian model of national security that has
already lead to two global wars.
The same people have produced the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction"
and related weapons to keep all of us "secure". :-(
Freeman Dyson talks in "Weapons and Hope" how nuclear weapons are a moral
evil, like slavery:
That may be true, but as a strategy for change, it has not worked.
Economically, spending so much money on such weapons systems is also
"stupid". The entire USA is currently terrorized by the thought of just one
nuclear bomb going off in the country. So obviously deterrence can work with
a handful of nuclear missiles, not tens of thousands of missile. Each extra
weapon beyond a handful just wastes money and poses a hazard to US citizens
including soldiers, in terms of accident and pollution. Example of an
accident that could have wiped out a big chunk of the USA a couple years ago:
"Westa assumed command of Minot in October 2007, replacing his predecessor
after a B-52 bomber was unintentionally loaded with six nuclear-armed cruise
missiles that were then flown to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana (see
GSN, Oct. 24, 2007)."
But, because war is a racket, no one wants to know that we don't need all
that stuff to be "secure enough":
So, besides appealing to conscience, appealing to intelligence (military
and economic) has not worked, either. :-(
So, I'm saying, besides being immoral, and stupid, current policies are
"There are three things which are real:
God, human folly, and laughter.
The first two are beyond our comprehension.
So we must do what we can with the third." (John F. Kennedy)
Maybe humor will succeed where conscience and intelligence has failed. :-)
Or, maybe all three together will do the job. :-)
So, I'd suggest read the above, and then starting thinking about how it is
all really funny in an ironic way, our current situation. Kind of like a
whole village of people dying of thirst, fighting over one last canteen of
water, using firefighter-style water cannons taking water by an expensively
maintained pipeline from a nearby freshwater lake. That's the current state
of our world, IMHO. :-) Or rather: :-( See also:
"No contest: the case against competition"
Our current energy situation includes national security issues in relation
to oil. We power US aircraft carriers and submarines guarding the oil-filled
Persian Gulf with nuclear reactors (not that I'm a big nuclear fan). We
power our land based nuclear missile silos (to attack the USSR if they move
in to take the oil) by solar panels. All totally ironic. :-( And then we are
building advanced military robots that can be controlled across the globe
through a global communications network to fight over wealth and assassinate
individuals and otherwise blow up children in Pakistan, instead of using the
robots to build wealth and help take care of children, or use the
communications network to build peace and shared understandings. Again,
completely ironic. :-(
As a comedian (Brett Leake) suggested to me last year at a humor conference:
* state the problem -- we currently have limited resources;
* restate the problem in an ironic way -- we are spending vast amounts of
time and money and resources to build a military apparatus and bureaucracy
(DRM, RIAA, patent fights) to enforce ways of rationing scarce resources;
* draw out the irony -- if we put as much energy into solving our resource
problems as in preparing to fight over them, we would not have any major
resource problems. :-)
Examples of people choosing a different route:
Related irony: it takes more electricity to refine a gallon of gasoline than
it would take to make an electric car go the same distance. If we switched
to using electric cars, we would use less electricity. Now, isn't that
ironic? :-) But a certain few people would have less centralized control
over our lives and get less rent, so we don't do that.
So, I'd suggest, a healthy amount of irony might help in the analysis. :-)
See also, from 1979, just before the USA and the world took a wrong turn
that has lasted thirty years going down the wrong road:
"Primary Sources: The "Crisis of Confidence" Speech by Jimmy Carter"
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One
is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation
and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right
to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of
constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility.
It is a certain route to failure.
All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the
promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and
the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our
nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin
to solve our energy problem.
Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation,
and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of
energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control
again of our common destiny.
Again, some irony:
"America will always do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other
Other primary resources for peer production of energy can be found here:
Or many other places. I just like that magazine as they've been plugging
away for a long time. :-)
Michel Bauwens wrote:
> thanks for a brain dump on this!
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Daniel Araya <daniel at levelsixmedia.com>
> Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 3:25 AM
> Subject: P2P energy
> To: michelsub2004 at gmail.com
> Michel, I'm writing a chapter on P2P energy and I'm wondering what you'd
> recommend as the best readings...
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